Published Sunday, 11 September 2011
The Dubs were going for three in a row, yet a Kerry victory would ensure three titles each for these great rivals. The 'wiley' Mick O'Dywer made the boldest prediction of his life.
Even though Dublin were going for a three-in-a-row, O'Dwyer told his players that they could win the 1978 All-Ireland final by nine or ten points.
If you've followed the golden generation then you will remember Mikey Sheehy lobbing the Dublin goal-keeper Paddy Cullen with a cheeky free-kick that day. You'll also remember, perhaps the most effective target man to ever play the game, the Bomber Liston, rattling the net.
A Kerry fan famously told this joke after the match: "What's the difference between Paddy Cullen and a turnstile? A turnstile only let's in one at a time." Despite a heavy defeat that day, those were the 'rare oul times' for the men from the capital.
But how things have changed, especially in the last fifteen years. Despite seven Leinster titles in the last decade, they haven't appeared in an All-Ireland final since they broke Tyrone hearts in 1995.
In last nine or ten years, Dublin have had four semi final defeats and five quarter final defeats, including a humiliating lesson at the hands of Kerry in 2009.
As for Kerry, you could say, the more things change the more they stay the same. Eight finals in the last eleven years, five titles to their name, they blow their rivals away for experience of winning on the big day.
So considering the Kerry team is littered with All-Ireland winners, and the Dublin team with rookies and serial floppers, then the prediction should be fairly straight forward, shouldn't it? Not so.
Kerry are still extremely formidable looking, particularly in their forward department with the Gooch, Donaghy, Galvin and the O'Sullivans. But there are a few absentees from two years ago, that I feel they haven't come close to replacing.
At mid-field, Dara o'Se and Seamus Scanlon have been replaced by Anthony Maher and Bryan Sheehan. I think this is an area where the Dubs will gain control, especially as Sheehan is an out and out forward.
Up front, one half of the twin towers has gone, as Tommy Walsh emigrated to Australia to pursue a career in Australian rules. It hasn't been the case so far, but I think they will also miss his power and scoring ability.
Kerry will play a more conventional game than Donegal, trying to outscore their opponent.
I feel this less tactical encounter will suit Dublin better, as their pace and athleticism will be become more effective weapons.
With more space to operate in, I can see Bernard Brogan causing more damage than the Gooch.
Devoid of the usual hype in the build-up to this one, the Dubs are on a mission that should see them bring Sam Maguire home next Sunday evening.